BBC Breakfast – Friday 3 August 2012   Leave a comment

[At around 7am every morning, the BBC World Service publishes its Daily Commute podcast.  It’s a fantastic source of news, albeit one with a lot of flaws.  This post is a transcript and critique of the first three minutes.  You can listen to the entire thirty minute program on-line or download the mp3 at their website.]

First the News:

Female Announcer: This is a download from the BBC.  To find out more and our terms of use, go to

Dan Damon: This is Dan Damon with your World Update Daily Commute recorded on Friday at 5:30am U.S. East Coast time.  Coming up, we’ll hear from fans and from world champion athletes about Usain Bolt’s chances of winning gold. 

Track Guy: Bolt is not at his best at this point.  The idea of him running faster here than he did in Beijing or faster than his world record probably won’t happen.  We know that we’re in for a really exciting race, and no one knows who’s going to win it.

(Full story at 12:00)

Damon: And in our special program, coming from overlooking the Olympic stadium, the organizers promised to inspire the next generation.  Well, I’ll visit a project bringing horse riding to one of London’s toughest neighborhoods. 

Girl: Really, it’s like your own personal space.  Like you come here and you, like, you’re given like a free reign.  Like, you can do what you want on the horses.

(Full story at 19:40)

Damon: First the news.

Jonathan Izard:  BBC news with Jonathan Izard.

  1. The United Nations General Assembly is to vote on a resolution condemning the Security Council for its failure to take action against the Syrian government.  The text was drafted by Saudi Arabia, which supports the Syrian rebels. 
  2. In Syria itself, there’s been more heavy fighting.  Activist groups say about a hundred and seventy (170) people were killed on Thursday, many of them in the central city of Hama.  At least ten (10) people were reported to have died when mortars hit a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus.
  3. The American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is visiting South Sudan briefly.  The highest ranking US official to go there since it’s independence last year.  The United States is urging South Sudan and Sudan to step up efforts to resolve serious differences which recently brought them to the brink of war.
  4. The UN says North Korea has asked for stocks of food and fuel aid to be made available after floods last month submerged vast areas of farmland and killed more than a hundred people.  Even before the flooding, the UN estimated that two thirds (2/3) of the population faced chronic malnutrition. 
  5. The much anticipated athletics competitions have begun at the 2012 Olympics with the hurdles heats in the women’s heptathlon.  Later today, Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba will defend the 10,000 meters title she won in Beijing, with Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya expected to be her strongest challenger.  Also taking place will be the men’s shot put final. 
  6. An Indian women who was accused of gate crashing the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games to enter the stadium with Indian athletes has apologized.  Madhura Nagendra appeared smiling and waving to crowds while walking next to India’s flag bearer.  Her appearance prompted a wave of criticism and an official protest from India. 
  7. The former Mongolian president, Nambar Enkhbayar, has been jailed for four years after being convicted of corruption charges that he described as politically motivated.  Mr. Enkhbayar served as prime minister and then president until his electoral defeat in 2009. 

Izard: BBC News.

Second the Snark

Two of today’s seven headlines, (5) and (6), are Olympics related, and therefore not news.  (Though I did get to use the official and craptacular website to look up the spelling of the heptathletes names.  The 10,000 meter contestant from Kenya only weighs 86 pounds.  Olympic athletes are weird.)  The story about the General Assembly taking a vote is also hardly newsworthy.  The General Assembly takes indignant votes about what kind of pizza toppings to order.  That they’re mad at the Security Council hasn’t been news since about 1973. 

The rest of the headlines do qualify as news, though most of them are just boilerplate notices of ongoing fatalities.  Syria?  Still at war.  North Korea?  Still starving.  Sudan and South Sudan?  Still fucked up.  Thanks, BBC.

The conviction of the ex-President of Mongolia is interesting if for no other reason than this:

The court in Ulan Batur found him guilty of taking television equipment intended as a donation to a monastery and charges relating to the illegal privatisation of a hotel and publishing house, Xinhua news agency said.

It’s not quite stampeding cattle through the Vatican, but stealing television equipment from monks is at least a novel reason to get sent away for four years. 

Posted August 3, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Uncategorized

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